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of God's unerring word, every doctrine of this despised system!

2. My natural spirit and temper were very unfavourable to such a change. Few persons have ever been more self-sufficient, and positive in their opinions, than I was. Fond to excess of entering into argument.. I never failed on these occasions to betray ibis peculiarity of my character. I seldom acknowledged or suspected myself mistaken; and scarcely ever-dropped an argument, till either my,reasonings or obstinacy had silenced my opponent. A certain person once said of me, that I was like a stone rolling down a hill, which could neither be stopped nor turned: this witness was true; but those things, which are impossible with man, are easy with God. I am evidently both stopped and turned : man I am persuaded could not have done it; but this hath God wrought, and I am not more a wonder to others than to myself. Indeed I carried the same obstinate positive temper into my religious enquiries; for I never gave up one tittle of my sentiments till I could defend it no longer; nor ever submitted to conviction till I could no longer resist. The strong man, armed with my natural pride and obstinacy, with my vain imagi. nations, and reasonings, and high thoughts, had built himself many strong-hoids, and kept his castle in my heart; and, when One stronger than he came against him, he stood a long siege: till, being by superior force driven from one to another, and all his armour in which he trusted being at length taken from him, he was constrained to reccde. So that the Lord having made me willing in the day of his power, I was


forced to confess: “0, Lord, thou art stronger than “), and hast prevailed.”

3. My situation in life rendered such a change improbable. I had an increasing family, no private fortune, a narrow precarious income, and no expectations, except from such friends as my conduct might procure or continue to me.

I had unexpectedly contracted an acquaintance with some of those, whose favour goes a great way towards a man's advancement in life; nor was I insensible to the advantages to be hoped for, from cultivating by a compliant behaviour their kind and friendly regard to me. At the same time I was no stranger to the opinion, which the world entertains of those who preach the disreputable doctrines above mentioned; and could not but conclude, that embracing them would probably deprive me of these prospects of preferment. But, as the result of diligent enquiry, I was assuredly convinced that it was my indispensable duty to profess and preach them, and that by so doing alone, I could ensure to myself the favour of a better Friend than any here below: and thus, while fully aware all along how unfavourable, according to human probability, it would prove to my worldly interests, I at length deliberately embraced them.

4. My regard to character was no trifling security against such a change of sentiment. I was ambitiously and excessively fond of that honour which cometh from man; and considered the desire of praise as allowable, nay, laudable. By this motive was I urged on to a very diligent prosecution of my studies, even beyond what natural inclination led me to ; and my whole conduct was influenced by, my whole conversation was tinctured with, this vain-glorious aim. On the other hand, with approbation and self-complacency, I had been accustomed to hear the most contemptuous and approbrious epithets liberally bestowed on those persons to whom I now joined myself: and all along, as I verged nearer and nearer to Methodism, I was painfully sensible that I was drawing upon myself the same mortifying distinctions.-I have been a vain. glorious candidate for human applause ; but I renounce such pretentions, and willingly submit to be consider. ed by the world, under the mortifying character of a half-witted, cracked-brained enthusiast. These epi. thets I am sensibly are now bestowed upon me behind my back, nay, very often to my face: I bless God however, this doth not move me; but I can heartily thank him, that I am counted worthy to suffer shame for his sake. When however I saw the trial approaching, it appeared very formidable ; and I can truly affirm, that nothing but the fullest conviction that the cause in which I was embarking was the cause of God; nothing, but not daring to act contrary to the plain dictates of my conscience, could have influenced me to make this sacrifice of my character, and bring upon myself so much scorn and contempt.

5. To reason with our despisers upon their own principles: If I am now fallen into enthusiasm, mistake, and strong delusion; I certainly was, when I first set out in this enquiry, a very unlikely person so to do. My leading resolve was to search for the truth diligently, and to embrace it wherever I found it, and whatever it might cost. No sooner had I begun the enquiry;

than I was called upon to give proof of the sincerity of this resolution; and, from a principle of conscience, though a mistaken one, I renounced my prospect of an immediate preferment. Since that time I have also deliberately sacrificed my character, and hazarded the loss of all my former friends. Giving these proofs of integrity, I set of in dependence on those plain promises which I have mentioned I have sought this desired knowledge of the truth chiefly in reading the holy Scriptures, and by prayer for the promised teaching of the Holy Ghost, in the manner which has been related; and I am now led to conclusions diametrically opposite to what I expected!-Now lay all these things together, and attentively consider them; and then let your own consciences determine how far it is probable, that a person, in this manner seeking for the truth, should be given over to a strong delusion to be. lieve a pernicious lie." If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? " Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a ser“pent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he give him a

scorpion ? If ye then, being evil, know how to give

good gifts unto your children; how much more “shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to " them that ask him?” Can any man suppose, that af“ ter such repeated and continued pleadings of the ex. press promises of the Lord to this effect, in earnest prayer, according to his appointment, I should be delivered up to the teaching of the father of lies? Can any one make this conclusion without an evident in. sinuation that God hath broken his promise ? In short, you may make a jest of the narrative; you may Vol. I.





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throw by the book without giving any attention to an árgument of this kind; you may say, what you never can prove, that it is all a contrived story; or you may argue, that these promises, though contained in the Bible, are not to be depended on by us, which is to give up the Scriptures to be scoffed at by Infidels and Atheists, and to render them useless to the humble anxious enquirer after truth and salvation : but by no other means, I am assured, can you account for this single circumstance, without allowing, that the substance of those doctrines which I have now embraced, is indeed contained in the word of God; that they comprise the truth as it is in Jesus, and are not corrupted with any such delusion as can hazard the salvation of my soul, or the souls of those who by my ministry receive them.--On this supposition all difficulties vanish. The Lord had given me a sincere desire to know the saving doctrine of the gospel; and, though I was exceedingly ignorant, obstinate, and prejudiced; yet this desire having, according to his directions, led me to the word of God, and influenced me to seek his teaching by prayer, he was faithful to his own promises, and it was an example of his own words, “ Every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth.” My evident sincerity in seeking the truth was sufficient to convince any person, conversant and experienced in the things of God, that, as my friend foretold, thither would all my enquiries lead me, in that would they all finally centre. And could I be assured, beloved reader, whoever thou art, that thou wast as sincerely desirous to know the truth as I then was, and as heartily resolved to embrace it wherever

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